The Heart of Worship, Part 1

Worship1Worship – when you think of worship, what usually comes to mind? Maybe the first half hour of church service singing songs, putting on “worship” music in the car…I think when most of us hear the word worship, we think of it as an action, doing something. Worship is none of those things. Music and worship songs can “lead” us and feed our spirits in worship, but worship is our being, it is our stance, who we are…worship is relational.

Again worship is not about being a singer or playing an instrument. It’s not about performance, but WE are Gods instrument. I love how our spiritual mama Cheryl Salem says it, “ We are Gods instrument! Who is playing you? It’s either God or the devil!”

Worship is an issue of the heart; it is where we give God His rightful place. It has nothing to do with words.

In fact, Mark 7:6-7says, “Jesus replied, “You are frauds and hypocrites! How accurately did Isaiah prophesy about you phonies when he said: These people honor me with their words while their hearts run far away from me! Their worship is nothing more than a charade! For they continue to insist that their man-made traditions are equal to the instructions of God.”

Jesus then goes on to say in verse 15 “its not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HEART!!!!

He says, their “worship,” is nothing more than a charade. He wasn’t talking about their singing. He was talking about their hearts. The Pharisees worship was motivated by their desire to look holy to others, not motivated by love. We can’t confess to be Christians and follow God if our hearts and motives are wrong – it will show through.

John 4:23-24– “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father inspirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God was talking to the Samaritan woman here about the location of worship not being as important as HOW we worship. God can be worshipped anytime, anywhere, not just in Church before the sermon. True worship is Holy Spirit led, anointed and power-filled.

Jesus said, “the hour is coming and now is…” Up until that time, people could not worship in Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not come. We are a 3 part being, just like the Trinity is 3 parts. We are body, soul and spirit. Body=clapping, singing…Spirit=our hearts, feelings and emotions…But man had not been given the Holy Spirit yet, so Old Testament people could not worship in Spirit…True worshipers began in the New Testament, on the hour of Pentecost.

Jesus says, “…now is…” because He was here and He was the first worshiper.

Look at the Tabernacle – again 3 parts…Outer Court, Inner Court and Holy of Holies, where no one could enter, except the High Priest at certain times…When Jesus died, the veil connecting to the Holy of Holies was torn so we now had a way in and could fully worship God in Spirit!

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Worship is important – it’s not what we do, but who we are!! Worship is not about singing, but about our hearts being one with our God and pouring out a love, honor and reverence only reserved for Him.

Exodus 34:14– “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

Satan knew how important worship was. Let’s look at another verse…

Matthew 4:9– “All of these kingdoms I will give to you,” the accuser said, “if only you will kneel down before me and worship me.” But Jesus said, “Go away, enemy! For the Scriptures say: Kneel before the Lord your God and worship only him. At once the accuser left him, and angels suddenly gathered around Jesus to minister to his needs.”

This was Satan’s last attempt to be worshipped. But Jesus came to save us, to point us TO God…

I love how when Jesus resisted the devil, Angels came and ministered to Him. When we resist the devil, the Lord sends angels to encourage and minister to us!

Isaiah 14:12– “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground,You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven,I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…”

Worship was what got him sent out from heaven! Yes, he wanted to be more like God, but his desire was to be worshiped instead of God! He wanted to be like God. He wanted the attention and exaltation. This was the very first account of sin in the Universe and Satan’s crime? To be worshipped and exalted above God. This is the origin of sin and ever since, Satan’s desire is to lure us away from worshipping God, to draw us away from God instead of pointing other to God.

If Satan tried to lure Jesus from accomplishing God’s will, how much more do you think he tries to lure us? Look at the state of our Nation today? Satan is the god of this world and controls everything from the Media to the business world, to things we watch, read…Most of the time, we don’t even realize these things lure us from God. He entices us with things of this world so we will bow down and worship him instead of God. We can easily listen o music more than we worship God. We can read books or keep ourselves so busy, we don’t have time for God. These are all things that in and of themselves may not be sinful, but anything we put above worshipping God, is sin and the enemy is crafty.  But if we are in our Word and prayer and worship, daily, we will recognize those futile attempts.

Let’s look at the first time the word worship is even mentioned in the Bible…

Genesis 22:1-19 (Abraham Tested)

Remember, Abraham was tested just 50 years prior to this, as well. Abraham was asked to leave his family and he did. Why did God test him again?? Same as us – we can revel in God’s goodness when He is working things out for us, but after that, we can easily drift back into the world and the world’s way of life…

When God asks Abraham to take Isaac up to Moriah, Abraham immediately obeys. The Bible doesn’t say he questioned or fought back. He obeyed. It took 3 days to arrive at their destination… Why 3 days? Because that gave Abraham time to think about this – was this God who was asking him to sacrifice his son worth all this? Was this God worth his worship and praise? For 3 days, he could have thought long and hard and not went through with this… Instead, EVEN IN THE STORM OF HIS MIND, HE WORSHIPPED!!

Genesis 22:5– “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

This is the first time the word worship is used in the Bible. What would be going through your mind when you are asked to do something this horrific?? And I bet none of us have ever been asked to do something like this!! Most times when we are in distress, worshipping is the last thing we have the heart or energy to do! Yet, Abraham took his son and they worshipped!!!

Worship requires a sacrifice! It’s sacrificing that which is most precious to us… in this case, for Abraham; it was his promised son Isaac. Often times, we need to sacrifice that which is most important to us, that which is crowding our lives so we can be in the position to operate in worship.

What is stopping you from being a worshipper?

The second time the word worship was used in the Bible was pertaining to Job. We all know the story of Job – he wastested to see if he would still worship God when he would ultimately lose EVERYTHING!!!

Job 1:20– “Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.”

In both Abraham and Job’s circumstances, they were in distress…Most of us wouldn’t even be able to worship, yet it was worship that broke the barriers for them and ushered in their greatest blessings!

Do we worship God when things are good? When prayers are answered? For his benefits? No, God should be worshipped for who He is not for what He does!

And in the Old Testament when they didn’t have a Bible, they didn’t have Jesus, they didn’t have hope – if they could worship, how much more can we having Jesus, having the Word, having the Holy Spirit because Romans 8:28tells us, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”

Job was a man of faith, but like us, his faith wavered. One minute he was in distress crying out why is this happening to me, then the next minute praising God. It was normal for him because He didn’t have the Holy Spirit or the Word. When we waver in our faith and worship, we are living the Old Testament experiences and we are not under that life anymore! Our worship is to be full in spirit AND truth!

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